You may be reading this article about parenting discipline
techniques because in your heart of hearts you've realized that what you know about discipline doesn't work. In most cases, child discipline only makes a willful child more defiant. If you're tired of the battle of wills that is constantly being mounted at your house, then maybe you're ready to open your heart and mind to ideas that actually work.
Before I talk about these ideas, let's examine why current parenting discipline techniques fail. The techniques that most parents use revolve around reward and punishment. Kids are rewarded when they behave and punished when they don't. Rewards can be doled out in the form of praise, toys or money. Punishment usually consists of timeout, withdrawal of privileges, blame, shame, or humiliation. Despite strong research against spanking, some parents still resort to corporeal punishment. What most parents don't know is that research (some of which was conducted over twenty years ago) has disproved the effectiveness of every single technique listed in this paragraph.
Although we could go through each piece of research the bottom line is that rewards and punishments do not work. What's more, you know this from your interactions with your child.
Alfie Kohn, the author of Why Rewards and Punishments Fail (and many other books) has made a career out of telling us this. For instance, he points out that rewarding children for good behavior does not help them become moral human beings. What it does teach kids is that they should expect to be rewarded for doing something good. Such kids perform acts of kindness which are not motivated by a natural desire to help others because they have their hand out in anticipation of what they're going to get in return. This teaches kids to do "good things" not because they enjoy being helpful to others, but because they're going to get something.
In much the same way, parenting discipline as you've dispensed it in the past (reward and punishment) doesn't teach a child why it's important not to act in certain ways, rather it teaches a child what not to do while adults are watching. These same kids who know how to behave properly when adults are present will try to get away with inappropriate behaviors when grownups are not around. (When behavior is contingent on whom you're with, rather than closely held values, you have no discipline.) As you can surmise, this is not what parenting discipline is all about. In fact, as I say in my book, Keepers of the Children true child discipline teaches children the self-discipline to make life-affirming choices on their own. Although this is a simple statement, it is quite profound and opposite from what most parents are currently teaching their children. While raising a child this way takes time, love and patience, this is a beautiful gift for a parent to give a child.
Learn how you can use true parenting discipline techniques to raise your child to know who he is and to act from cherished values by reading the eye-opening, heart-expanding book, Keepers of the Children. Find out why it received a Nautilus Book Award which honors titles that promote conscious living and social change. Reserve your copy now because as I say in the book: "Children grow up quickly and some chances never come again."
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